3-Minute WOM Lesson: 3 common mistakes with word of mouth topics

[Welcome back to the You Can Be a Word of Mouth Marketing Supergenius! newsletter. This is text from the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

All word of mouth starts with a topic of conversation. If you don’t give them something to say, people have nothing to share. When creating your topics, watch out for these three common mistakes:

1> Thinking it’s a slogan
2> Not testing it
3> Dropping it too early

1> Thinking it’s a slogan

If you think a word of mouth topic is something like, “Now with 50 percent more fiber!” or “Featuring the 10X3B Flabooble Processor!”, we’ve got some work to do. A topic is simple, portable, and repeatable. Think Hotel Monaco’s complimentary goldfish for every guest, or Apple’s pink and purple computers back in the mid 90’s, or how Zappos will take back your shoes even after you’ve stunk them up for a year. These are the topics you pass on to your friends.

2> Not testing it

As a word of mouth marketer, you have to get comfortable with testing, sampling, and experimenting. Don’t launch that next big word of mouth project without first leaking it to a few customers, prospects, and employees. Does it get repeated? Are people excited about it? No amount of planning will tell you for sure — you’ve got to test it.

3> Dropping it too early

If you’ve got something that people are excited about, you’ve got to protect it. This often happens when someone looks at a spreadsheet and says you can save X if you cut out the little extras and perks. Don’t do it. Great topics are hard enough to come by, why risk killing the ones that work?


Tags: , , ,


  1. Virtual Agent

    Great points! I firmly believe in establishing a focus group especially when embarking on a big project for a brand. Whether it’s for marketing or testing a product, it’s important to have comparative results before sending them out to the public.


  1. Car Rentals And The Mistakes That People Often Make | Mercedes-Benz A Class - April 19, 2011

    […] 3-Minute WOM Lesson: 3 usual mistakes with word of mouth topics […]

Featured Downloads

Download: “The Difference Map” by Bernadette Jiwa

We’re big fans of author of The Fortune Cookie Principle and TEDx speaker Bernadette Jiwa, who says that good marketing…

Read More

The first chapter of “The Social Media Side Door” by Ian Greenleigh

Ian reveals the best ways to earn the attention of influential people using social media channels.

Read More

9 Things to Share That Start Conversations

Use the examples in this guide to help inspire ways to make your message more portable and shareable.

Read More

3 Must-Use Word of Mouth Marketing Tools

These tools will help you kick off any word of mouth campaign no matter what topic, industry, or budget.

Read More

The Top Four Tips for Multiplying Your Word of Mouth

These tips can help you get your marketing to do more work without a lot of extra effort.

Read More

10 Ways to Turn Around Negative Word of Mouth

The most effective ways to stop negative WOM with examples from Zappos, FedEx, Dell, and more.

Read More
Get our free weekly newsletter

Join 35,000 brilliant word of mouth marketers by signing up for our free weekly email newsletter filled with actionable word of mouth ideas.

You’ll be blown away by just how good you can be at this.

Never display this again